Route mapped for Siberian pipeline


British Petroleum is finalizing plans for a 5,000 km gas pipeline from Siberia that could pass through North Korea to Asian markets.

The pipeline to China and South Korea will run from the giant Kovykta gas field near Lake Baikal in south-central Siberia, but it is unclear just how the pipeline will reach South Korea.

The most direct route is to take the pipeline through the nuclear-armed North Korea. A longer route would take the pipeline straight from China to South Korea by going underwater across the Yellow Sea. The Yellow Sea option is considered by experts to be much more likely. The South Korean government is against a route that goes through its northern neighbour, as the two countries are still technically at war.

The construction of the pipeline should begin in 2005 and be functioning in 2008.

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